Büyükada - a day at the swimming club
The ferryboat takes off from the pier and soon follows the strong current south into the Marmara Sea. For the ferryman on the bridge it is a day like any other but for us it is still somehow exciting to travel on the Bosphorus. Looking back at the shoreline of this hectic, over-crowded, never-sleeping city, we are glad to spend a day out on one of nature's strongholds. Located right next to this Istanbul cocktail of too much noise, traffic and friendly people, are the Princess Islands. We are heading at Büyükada, the biggest one in the group of nine islands.
It is a sunny day and we have our swimming gear with us. At the island's pier we receive a warm welcome from my old friend and his family, who have invited us to the island today. The moment we walk up the hills, away from the harbour, we are surrounded by these typical island villas and mansions embedded in large green pine trees. We walk along gardens of exotic plants, protected by fences made of blossomy scent and flowers. There is no cars noise on this island and we enjoy the bird sound instead. Although it is not the first time we come to the island, each time we walk through these narrow streets, it fills our minds with new impressions. It is an island of peace and silence, where nature is still intact. A place to breathe, to rest and to charge our batteries.
And, it has a place to swim. Together with our friends we are heading to the Büyükada swimming club, where we will spend the rest of the day. The swimming club connects to a shore area of ca. 900m length (see map below). The water is dark blue and clean and the visibility is perfect. Since it is weekend, there are some yachts and boats anchored close to the shore. But it still looks safe enough for a short distance swim without safety buoy. I promise to keep it short and to look out for whatever might cross my way, when I finally dive in to have a short but very enjoyable swim up and down the shore line. The water is perfect and I make every stroke count. If I would be living on this island, I would do my swim training every morning here in the Büyükada swimming club.
The day on the island is passing too fast and before we know it, we have to head back to the harbour to catch the ferry back to Beşiktaş. To our dear friends we say thank you very much for this wonderful day. No need to say that we will come back to this place; where nature is still in charge. May it be to enjoy a good open water swim, or just to breathe, to rest and to charge our batteries.